No historian of ancient Rome in this century has had a greater influence on historical research or won greater international acclaim than Sir Ronald Syme. His outstanding position was due mainly to his first two books, The Roman Revolution, which appeared in 1939, and Tacitus (two volumes, 1958) - although he went on to produce many more monographs, and seven volumes of his Roman Papers have so far appeared. The long gap between his first two books is partly explained by the war, which took him on official duties to Belgrade and Ankara; and he spent 1943-5 at Istanbul as Professor of Classical Philology. It was always known that Syme had continued to write during the war, in particular the 'Straboniana' investigations into the famous ancient Geography composed by Strabo, a native of Asia Minor, in the time of Augustus. After Syme's death, the manuscript was discovered among his papers: he had not quite completed the work, but what he had written, with almost complete annotation, represents a substantial and fascinating study of the historical geography of Anatolia in the Hellenistic and early Roman period. Syme ruthlessly dissects the often incoherent and inconsistent text of Strabo, at the same time providing rich detail on client kings, Roman generals and emperors, writers, and travellers. Above all, he shows unequalled ability to understand the landscape and settlement of Anatolia; and the work is composed in the same forceful and elegant style that made his other books classics of historical literature.
`This volume has been long awaited. Anatolica makes an enormous contribution to the study of Strabo. B. must be congratulated on the vast amount of work he has put in to find, read, edit and publish this book. S.'s book shows the importance not only of the information given by Strabo for the study of Anatolian geography and history but also the role of this area in Roman policy. Remarkable are the sections on Armenia, a region seldom studied in modern
Western classical scholarship. Much space is also devoted to the local population.'
Gocha R. Tsetskhladze, Royal Holloway University of London, The Classical Review, Vol. XLVI, No. 1, 1996
`most of S.'s hallmarks are present in abundance: the unmatchable precision of reference deployed with maximum economy ... the studied but tough prose style, spiced, as always, with ironic humour; and the unique sense of authority characteristic of all his writing ... Syme's Anatolica remains a major contribution.'
Simon Swain, University of Warwick, Journal of Roman Studies, Vol. LXXXVIII 1996
`Even more striking than the work's wide geographical scope is the range of approaches and techniques deployed ... Anatolica is a splendid and valuable collection of both detailed and far-reaching studies, tackling and satisfactorily solving many apparently intractable textual and historical problems ...'
Katherine Clarke, Christ Church, Oxford, Gnomon, vol 71, 1999